If you’re among the millions of Americans who suffer from allergies, you know that the sneezing fits, sniffles, and/or coughing all season long can be a real pain.
Did you know that there are ways to combat your allergy symptoms? One crucial step toward overcoming those annoying symptoms is to get allergy testing done. Allergy testing can help you and your doctor figure out what your triggers are and devise a strategy to keep flare-ups at bay.
In this blog post, you’ll learn about the different types of allergy tests, particularly how they are done.
Skin Prick Test
A skin prick test, which is the most common type of allergy test, involves your allergy doctor pricking your skin – usually on the forearm – to introduce allergens into your body. The doctor can test for up to 40 different allergens to see which one triggers a reaction. If you are allergic to the substance, your skin will develop wheals (raised bumps).
A skin prick test is commonly done on patients with asthma, hay fever, and stinging insect allergies. It is not particularly useful for testing food allergies.
Blood (IgE) Test
If you have a skin condition for which a skin prick test may not be recommended or you cannot stop taking antihistamines even for 48 hours, your allergy doctor may recommend blood test instead (lgE test).
An lgE test measures the quantity of immunoglobulin E in your blood. Immunoglobulin E is an antibody your body produces in response to a perceived threat which, in this case, is an allergen. When immunoglobulin E binds with an allergen, it releases a chemical referred to as histamine, which causes an allergic reaction.
During the procedure, the doctor cleans your skin, puts a tourniquet above the area where they will extract your blood, takes a sample of your blood, puts it into a vial, and then sends it to the laboratory for analysis.
The blood IgE test is often carried out on patients with food allergies as well as those with environmental allergies.
Oral Food Challenge
Also referred to as a feeding test, the oral food challenge (OFC) involves your doctor having you or your child eat a certain kind of food, in gradually increasing amounts every 15 to 30 minutes under their close supervision, to determine whether the food triggers a reaction.
Your allergy doctor will likely recommend an OFC if a skin prick or blood test yields an inconclusive result. During the procedure, your allergy doctor will have emergency medicines (e.g., epinephrine, antihistamines, or albuterol) handy in case a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) occurs.
Allergy Testing in Downers Grove, Naperville, Elmhurst, and Plainfield, IL
At Oak Brook Allergists, our board-certified allergy doctors offer comprehensive allergy testing in a comfortable and hygienic setting. Our allergists are highly experienced in treating patients of all ages, so no matter how old you are, you can count on us to get you on the road to feeling better!
Arrange your visit with one of our allergy doctors today. Call us at (630) 574-0460 or use our convenient online request form.